“To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never, in a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common, this is to be my symphony.”
William Henry Channing
William Henry Channing
I stumbled across this quote one morning in May while my neck felt tight and my pulse felt high and I sought some gem from the lives and words of others. I sought serenity in thoughts and words – words being a source of so much in my life to include serenity. The quote caught my attention. I wanted to share it immediately like a kid bringing home a new, bedraggled, scruffy, skin and bones, stray “Look mom! Can I keep it?”
Rather than sharing it immediately though, I sat with it and considered - symphonies offer serenity. They are a wonderful combination of unlikely, yet complementary sounds and instruments brought together to create an experience for audience and musician alike. Depending on the piece playd, I find serenity in the sounds of the symphony.
Yet, as the quote suggests, a symphony is more than an orchestra or could be greater than a compilation of notes played by a group of musicians. Taking it a bit further – What is my symphony? Not only what is my symphony – but what would be my Serenity Symphony?
The RAOKA theme for May was Serenity. Throughout the month I considered serenity and where it fit in my life or where it existed or where I found it. What I discovered – I don’t have a great deal of serenity in my life. I have moments of wonder. I have joy and laughter. I have frustration and agitation. I even have this or that moment of peace – but serenity?
Where to find serenity?
Serenity comes from within. It is the quieting of the mind and the alignment of living in integrity. It is the – for me it is the living in the moment, the letting go, and the trust of knowing that it is what it is to be.
Serenity is the rolling of the waves as they break before racing toward the shore.
It is the wind tickling the branches of the tallest trees and sending the leaves dancing through the air.
It is my hands in the soil or gently moving through the leaves of my plants removing the dead, caring for the living, and relishing in the colors and beauty of life in all its forms.
It is the smell of flowers – the sea – the pines… the smell of nature – nature and simple.
Oh, it is also great Italian food – the garlic, the mélange of great ingredients… simply amazing to see, to taste, to smell...
It is the feel of my daughter’s hand in mine as we walk, in silent companionship.
It is the sounds of the piano that come to me from the studios at the ballet school as I sit and allow myself the time and space to relax
All of these are aspects of my serenity symphony – the compilation of nature and love and openness that allow for me to settle down, quiet my mind, and let go into a place of serine grace.
As I review this month, I am more aware of the lack of serenity in my life than its presence. This, in itself, struck me. I realize that this month has been a bit on the busy side – and the agitation I have felt as been pronounced throughout the last two weeks – so I am in the process of learning where I can remove and minimize… where I can add nature and music – where I can open my heart and allow things to flow over holding on tightly or creating attachments to opinions or thoughts that result in greater stress over more serenity.
Where do you find serenity?
What is your serenity Symphony??
RAOKA is founded on the idea that we can do little things to make a difference. The little things in life, the little things that we all can do and do daily – like laughter, express passion, gratitude… These acts are noted by various people in accordance with a theme chosen each month. The May theme was SERENITY – June’s theme is “WISDON”.
For more information on participating and RAOKA, please contact Lori and Jane Be Nimble!!
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